Sunday night traffic in Phnom Penh is crazy! If you’ve ever tried getting around the city at 7:00 in the evening, you probably agree with me that it might be easier to walk. A friend recently told me, however, that the reason for all the traffic is that many Phnom Penh residents go home on Friday to the provinces to be with family for the weekend and then return on Sunday night. Learning the reason for the traffic makes it easier to bear. I understand what it feels like to be away from family because of work. It’s a difficult position to be in, and that’s why I’m delighted to be on my way back to the United States for a short visit.
I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family in Virginia and catching up with what’s been happening in their lives since I’ve been in Cambodia. Just as important, I can’t wait to share with my family, friends, and colleagues back home all the things that I’ve learned about Cambodia’s culture, society, and people.
When Americans think about Cambodia, the first thing that comes to mind is often the Killing Fields, but Cambodia is so much more than that. I’ve met so many bright, young Cambodians who are eager to learn and improve not only their country, but also its relations with the U.S. That’s why I am also meeting with some officials in Washington to boast about the great potential and the many positive things that are happening in Cambodia. The young people – the 70% of the population – will run Cambodia some day and we need to invest from ground zero to ensure Cambodia’s economic and political success. And with the combined support from the U.S. government, civil society, and the private sector, Cambodia’s future could not be any brighter. This is such a beautiful country, and I want to share my experiences from here with as many Americans as I can!
What is your favorite thing about Cambodia? Please let me know, so I can tell my friends and colleagues in America.